A lot of changes have happened over the past months since I last wrote. A lot of mental changes and feelings and other things I can’t quite explain. At first, I thought maybe it was because I was feeling the “three-year itch” being an actress. I’ve gone into turbo mode. I am, for lack of a better word, throwing myself at people as if to say “HEY I’M ALIVE AND VERY TALENTED!!! LET ME PERFORM FOR YOU!!!” Then I thought it was because one of my most favorite movie series was being added on to and it switched on my “I don’t give a crap-fighting for what I want” mode. Star Wars was something I lived in since I was 13. Hell, I’ve even written my own stories to the series! Memorized every line of Luke’s. Wanted to be Luke, AND was in love with him. I even compare the guys I date to Luke Skywalker. THIS, alone, is proof of my obsessive compulsiveness. Or was it the fact that all my past girlfriends were married and having children, and I wasn’t. Or was it…simply…the feeling of the clock…ticking.
My birthday is in a few hours. There were many moments where I felt like I should write, but tonight felt like the right moment.
I have a dog sleeping in my bed right now. Tiny, white and cream colored, with long silk hair, and gentle eyes and a quiet demeanor. I rescued him yesterday. It seems like everyone was having babies…and I produced a dog. I named him Toby Lee Orion, aka (just) Toby. Yeah, so I wanted a little touch of sci-fi to the name, I couldn’t resist. I don’t know what’s gotten into me, though…I’ve never been a “small dog” person. I guess you could blame it on my whimming personality. But I feel there’s something else changing in me.
I mailed George Lucas a letter yesterday as well…AND Kathleen Kennedy AND J.J. Abrams AND Disney. I mailed them because I am THAT desperate to have a chance to audition for Star Wars, I’m starting to feel a little nuts. But I figured I have nothing to lose, because currently in the film world I am pretty close to nothing anyhow, so what better thing to do but send George Lucas and friends a “Hello, you don’t know me, but I love you!” letter…for those of you who don’t know me, the “I love you” part is completely satirical……so I say……
I also have a boyfriend that I can’t admit is a boyfriend because the term freaks me out SO much, I immediately turn off and don’t want him anymore. But as long as he stays in the friend zone, I want him. This may also prove I’ve gone officially nuts, but haven’t seen a professional yet… He’s my Number 1 and he’s my best friend. He’s also my intimate lover. But labels really sit sourly with me…to the point of an upset stomach…to the point of me running like there’s zombies after me. EXACTLY!
My mother asked me recently if my motivation as an actress has been spurred on because of the new Star Wars movies and I told her, “Yes.” As a child, I really wanted to be an astronaut. Truly, I still want to be one, but because my bad eyesight wouldn’t be able to make the cut AND when I was young I didn’t think of myself as smart enough, the dream of being in space was limited to just pretense. But an actor CAN travel space within the mind’s eye. So, yes, I know the new SW movies have become my main motivation in life. There’s nothing I want more. There really really is nothing!
For the first time, I’m taking workshops with casting directors that work for J.J. Abrams, sending out headshots and resumes to people I don’t think would ever even care to look at (that’s why I’ll be sending them out every month ) , buying my first dog that acts like a fabulous stress reliever, and pulling along a fantastic guy/person because I can’t seem to relax in a committed relationship.
So as a result, I have spent more money this year than I EVER have just to somehow make sense of things in my personal life and catch someone’s attention in the Star Wars world. And every bit of it has felt worth it. Because I know that if I don’t get a chance, at least I can say I didn’t try my all……in BOTH worlds.
DAY! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! to me because I’m a MayDay baby
Exactly a year ago, I was in rehearsals for Cabrillo Music Theatre’s production of Annie. I was playing Grace Farrell, my first lead in California. I got to work with Norman Large and Sally Struthers. It was one of the most memorable show experiences I had had at the time and felt so blessed to be apart of it!
Playing Grace Farrell led me to my first agent, Steven Dry, with Connor Ankrum & Associates. He started me out on my first run of auditions. The first one sucked. I completely screwed it up. It was my first audition where I actually knew that when I turned and exited through the door, I wanted to shoot myself and bury myself in a hole. It was stupid-dumb-bad. And to make matters worse for myself, it was the first audition I had that my agent scheduled me for. I wanted to cry.
I redeemed myself, not right away, but eventually. As the months passed, the auditions were few and far between. It was a slow season for the theater world. Equity houses were closing down without hope of reopening. Union actors were leaving the union just so they could get more work. It wasn’t looking good for California theater. It still isn’t…
Nonetheless, the shows must go on…I don’t know how, but they will.
A few months more went by and I finally signed with my first commercial agency, Brady Brannon and Rich. So I experienced my first round of commercial auditions and callbacks. Let me tell you!!! They are SOOOOO easy. You don’t have to prepare ANYTHING. Just show up and look right. Such a change compared to all my theater auditions, where you have to prepare 16-32 bars of an up-tempo and ballad, bring dance clothes, dance shoes, and whatever else they may want you to do.
I didn’t land a commercial yet, but had mostly callbacks, so I thought that wasn’t too shabby.
Around winter time, I had finally made a good group of awesome friends. I hadn’t really made any since I had moved; I got close to some, but didn’t find anyone I could trust yet. So I finally found some people I could love AND trust. At the same time, I also lost contact with my friend and ex The Terminator. The confusing relationship finally reached its end since I had moved out to California.
During this time, I had met William Shatner. I actually got to hang out with him ON SET, being apart of the crew. My life was complete at that point. If I had died the next day, I wouldn’t have cared. I also got asked out by four different crew guys that same day. Overwhelmed would definitely be the word for THAT.
For a while there, I wasn’t landing any shows. I was getting callbacks, but nothing after that. It was a serious dry spell. But a part of me was grateful for it. I had time for other things in my life that I normally wouldn’t have if I were in a show. The show-life takes up MOST of your time. Eventually, I was invited to audition for The Movie Guys, a comedy webisode about movies ‘n such. I got in and was able to become SAG-eligible, something I had been thinking pretty close to impossible considering I wasn’t really doing any union related stuff until then.
I was ecstatic that I had the ability to call up SAG and say, “I wanna sign up and pay my dues!” I couldn’t believe that doing New Media was a way in.
And then, just to mess with me, my “dark side” decided to come out and be a pain, and I started cutting again. I hadn’t sliced up my leg since I was in college, so it was a serious wake-up call when it happened again at 26 years old. I finally accepted the fact that I was born with something I had no control of. I wasn’t allowed to take any more birth control, according to the nurses, because of the severe depression I was feeling again. They took me off it, and then put me on Prozac again. I hadn’t been on it for a while, but after my bad cutting experience (taking a butter knife at work and going at it on my right leg), I decided it was best to stay on the Prozac indefinitely.
Once I accepted my “craziness,” (as I like to call it), I felt a sense of equilibrium. And, funny enough, things started making sense and being good again. I got cast in The Music Man, playing Marian Paroo, which was one of my dream roles. A friend of mine told me to audition, and I got it. It really is about WHO you know. I wouldn’t have known about the audition if my friend hadn’t told me about it. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I got the part.
From there, I got another lead in a show, Abigail Adams in Cabrillo Music Theatre’s production of 1776 the Musical. I COULDN’T believe it! I wanted to play her so badly, I was beyond shocked and thrilled that I actually got cast.
I began a working-out life style I thought I’d never have. I started Cardio Barre with my roommate. I started running, something I used to HATE all my life, and now love it! I FINALLY achieved my Victoria’s Secret stomach goal, which I had been wanting to reach since I was 14 years old. Took living with a stunt woman with rock-hard abs to actually push me.
And on top of all this, my romance life became interesting after nearly a year of zilch. Sure, I had been meeting people like The Bartender from Bogie’s, and the crew guys from Shatner’s shoot, but no one I actually felt like spending time with.
But then came Mr. Big (MY version, not Sex and the City’s version). And then Mr. Spock. And then Blue Shirt (aka, possibly Skywalker). All of which I have very unusual relationships with. Two of them are close friends, one of them closer in a more physical way, and the third is one I’m technically dating (as in a date once a week kinda thing). ALL wonderful!!!! I’ve become sort of a Queen Bee, giving my love to all my little worker bees…although I’m really not sure what I’m doing at all. In all honesty, at this time in my life, I admit I have a serious problem with monogamous relationships. But we all go through this at one point or another, right? I panic at the idea of being tied down to just one person right now. And not one guy in my life that I’ve been with seriously has deserved my loyalty, so why try to be loyal at all? I guess I’m answering myself with this one…the one who does deserve it will be the one to marry. WELL I’m not even CLOSE to that, so game on! Time to really live out my loving side. I might as well be a futuristic hippy.
Last night was a perfect ending to my 3 year anniversary with California: a whim on the beach that only happens in your dreams. I had a found a secret entrance to a private beach in Malibu, and a small group of friends and I ventured out into the dark of the night, stripped down to our skimpies and played in the ocean, all the while, of course, wondering if Jaws was laying in wait. It was the whim of the year!
And so the adventures continue! By the way, Cali, did I ever tell you that I love you? Well, I do. Happy 3 years and may the fourth one be ever in my favor!
There are people in this world that I cherish more than life itself. I would rather die before their own deaths because I know living without them would mean dying anyway.
Some people ask me why I don’t have a boyfriend or why I don’t just start dating someone. “You have so much love to give,” some say. Well, I do date, if you consider it as a verb. But I can’t even fathom the idea of committing myself to someone. Some children, when they dream up their future, see themselves with some type of family. I had never been that child. All my life, I pictured myself, in the end, alone. Sure I imagined I would have many great lovers, and wonderful friends, but there was never someone standing beside me on my great adventure. Sometimes I would even imagine myself as some sort of superhero and that I couldn’t possibly be involved with a mortal human being. Sometimes I would dream of my wedding day, dancing with the faceless man I knew to be the One, and suddenly blood splattering onto my white dress as a bullet penetrated his skull. Two things would happen: I would lay next to him cradling his head in my lap, my white dress soaking red, or I would go into a rage and hunt down the person who shot him.
I thought, as I grew older, this fantasy would dissolve. That, of course, I would have someone in my life to share everything I love. But the older I got, the more I realized the things I fantasized as a child were coming true…minus the superhero part, sadly enough. I have many lovers and care for each one, but panic when the thought of choosing just one enters my mind. That I would rather be alone than choose any. And that if I did choose, giving myself fully to that person, letting him come into my special World-of-All and sharing with him everything that is wonderful to me, I only see darkness following. The fear of him dying in my arms. The fear of him leaving me, disappearing from existence. All these fears are rooted inside me for reasons I can’t explain. All I know is that I haven’t changed since I was a child. The number of people I care this deeply about has grown by about less than a handful since then, but the strength of this emotion hasn’t changed. The people in my World-of-All know who they are. My Papa lives there now.
What is love to you? Am I alone in this?
I can’t express just a sense of love, but a commitment and loyalty that will last until I die. This is why I won’t give myself over to love until I know it is right. But I can promise you, that even if I don’t fall for you, my feelings will be deep enough to satisfy any loneliness you may be enduring. If you need someone, I will be there. Just call for me.
The air was cold and cutting up here, ripping past my face and through my hair, tangling knots that I would never forget. Stirring up, lifting up, until I thought I couldn’t go any farther. But I didn’t stop. It was exhilarating and addicting. Every moment was filled with fear, but I never fell. The air was pure up here, tasting like ice crystals from a fresh fall of snow, and I inhaled it slowly so as not to freeze up my lungs. My skin prickled everywhere in the thrill of the speed. I pushed ever so slightly, pushing forward, going faster. I hovered horizontal, then shot vertical, and horizontal again, pulling farther and farther from the ground. You can’t have me, I said. I’m too far from you now.
“You’ll fly someday,” she said, “but not today.”
I vaguely remember her. She had long black silk hair, sharp features, wide black eyes, and was very tall. At least it seemed that way from a child of six years. She would wake me at six in the morning sometimes. This was not easy for a six year old girl who was born a night person.
“We’ll get donuts,” she said to me as I grumbled in bed. “And then we’ll walk to school.”
That did it. That always does it for a child. Sugar. Well, why the hell not! I’ll get up. I didn’t even hear the school part. She’d brush my long golden hair with slow and gentle strokes. She was always careful with me, as if she was afraid she’d snag a knot somewhere and force a cry of pain from me. Then we’d walk to the donut shop a few blocks away from home. The donut shop was through the tall green trees and across the busy street. I was never allowed to cross the street by myself. But Gretchen was with me. It was okay this time.
She held my hand tight as we crossed, her long fingers wrapped around my tiny hand. Her fingers, long and thin. I would look up at her, her hair flowing long and black and straight. She was always so pretty, I thought.
We walked into the donut shop and ordered a box of donuts, some cake, frosted, crème-filled, bearclaws, and my favorite, glazed rope twist. We sat down on a bench near a park by my school and she handed me my glazed rope twist. I finished it in seconds. I was about to reach in for another donut—I had my eye on the chocolate frosted one—but she held me back.
“These are for everyone else,” she said. “You have to share.”
I pulled my hand back silently. I was tempted to say that nobody else eats donuts, but I couldn’t help but feel a sense of guilt. I could have eaten the entire box, and the idea of sharing was so frustrating.
I looked up at my aunt. She didn’t have a donut. She never ate, not that I saw. She sat quietly, with one arm around my shoulders, staring across the park. The park was empty, which was something I rarely saw. Normally it was filled with kids running, playing tag, with bouncing backpacks on their backs. There was nobody out this early. This’ll be my first day not late for class, I thought vaguely. My father usually took me to school. I always got up too late and we always arrived too late…or barely on time. I’d always be the last to walk in.
Not this time! I thought happily. But it would be my last time.
“You know something?” Gretchen said, breaking the silence. I almost forgot she was next to me.
“What?” I responded.
“We are very special,” she said, but she didn’t look at me. “You know why?”
I shook my head no.
“We are flyers,” she said. “You fly sometimes.”
I opened my mouth to say something, to say how did you know?, but shut my mouth. I always felt like I could fly, and that I did sometimes, but never told anyone. How did my aunt know that I could? But she said she could too.
“I’ll be flying again soon,” she continued, still staring across the empty park. “But I won’t be coming back.”
“Where are you going?” I asked curiously, looking up at her. Her face was pale, always pale and colorless.
She didn’t answer. Her black eyes glazed over and I didn’t understand.
I followed her gaze, across the thick green grass, the soft brown dirt outlining a child’s baseball field, the silver metal swings, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. My aunt continued to stare, however.
“I want to fly there too,” I said absently, if for no other reason but that I didn’t know what to say.
“No,” she said, turning to look at me finally. But her body remained still and cold. Her arm around my shoulders never felt soft, but boney and hard. “You can’t go there. Not yet.”
“How come you’re going then?” I said.
“Because it’s my turn,” she said. “I don’t belong here. Neither do you, but that’s okay. I just can’t stay anymore. You’ll understand, someday.”
“But where are you going?” I pushed. I hated never having all the answers.
“Far away,” she said. “Just for a little while.” But that last comment seemed like an after thought, as if she was saying it just for me.
A blew out a puff of air in frustration. Bad enough I couldn’t eat another donut, but now my aunt wasn’t giving me straight answers. Adults always did that. And I hated it. I crossed my arms in defiance.
She laughed and pulled me close then. “It’s okay, hunny,” she said. “You’ll fly someday. But not today.”
Later, not long after, she died. Shot herself. At least that was what I had heard. A part of me imagined she wasn’t really dead, that she had flown off like she said she would, and that the body in the coffin was just her doppelganger or something.
She flew away to the other side, wherever that may be.
At six, I decided I’d try to follow. It was windy out, so that would help lift me, I thought. The trees’ branches swayed and brushed against the roof of the house. I stood on my bed, leaning out the open window. The wind, warmed by the summer sun, gently played with my long golden curls. My blue-green eyes widened in anticipation. I stepped out the window, my bare feet gripping the rubbery black-blue shingles, and jumped.
I didn’t need a running start, like I thought I would. I hovered a few inches above the roof of my house. I felt heavy, like the ground was trying to pull me back down, but I pushed away with my hands and lifted higher. I pushed again and again until I was a good distance above my house and the trees. I averted my gaze from the ground to the sky, overcast in grey-white clouds, as was typical of Chicago. The sun glowed brightly behind them.
That’s where I was heading. The sun. I pushed hard this time with my arms and flew straight up. The air instantly cooled around me, tugging at my hair, clothes, stinging my eyes as I flew faster. I was aware that I had stopped breathing and couldn’t catch my breath as I continued farther up. I didn’t care. I didn’t need to breathe. I had the air lifting me instead. I pushed through the clouds. Cold moisture immediately layered my body, prickling my skin. The clouds slowed my progress, so I pushed even harder until I broke through the grey and into the bright gold light of the sun’s rays.
Warmth engulfed my body, drying my wet skin and hair. The air was barely a whisper up here just a few feet above the roiling clouds. I stared at the sun.
“You can’t come here,” she said. “Go back.”
“But I can fly there and fly back,” I said.
“No,” her voice echoed from somewhere all around. “It’s not your turn.”
“But I don’t belong here either!” I shouted to the sky. “I want to leave and go where you are!”
“It’s not your turn. Not today.”
“I can’t stay here! I can’t stand it! I’ll fly far, I will!” My feet brushed the tops of the clouds as I said this, briefly catching moisture on my toes. That’s when I realized I was sinking. The pull was strong on my ankles, and then it reached my knees and soon I was waist deep in the grey clouds.
“No! Don’t take it from me,” I cried helplessly, trying to push away from the deep of the clouds, flailing as I was falling through. “I want to go too, I want to go too!”
“You’ll fly someday…but not today…”
And I dropped. I fell backwards, watching the sun vanish behind the roiling grey-white clouds, watching as the puffy moisture swirled as I cut a path through its travels, watching as I broke through only to see a darkening layer of rain cloud forming above me. I reached out as if to grab a hand, but there was nothing there to grab. I continued my fall, my hair clinging and whipping my face as if it were desperately trying to reach out to the sky as well. The air was colder now, cutting through me like icicles. And then I finally landed, flat on my back, in the cushion of green grass. I laid motionless for what felt like forever.
Then a little droplet of water fell into my eye, strangely warm and soothing. I blinked it away and propped myself on my elbows. I was in the park near my school. And it was starting to rain.
But I didn’t care. My wings were gone.
The rain came hard then, soaking my gold hair to dark, sticking my clothes to my skin. And I sat there in the green-brown grass, letting the rain flood my eyes, staring up into the sky, waiting for the day when I could fly again. Someday.
I was sixteen years old and I was standing on Endor’s fourth moon, surrounded by the dark jungle of giant trees, smelling the damp earth rise from beneath my shoes, and the warm air, still and clingy, engulfing me as I watched Luke finish building the fire pit. He didn’t want help when I offered.
In the distance, I could hear the Ewok and Rebel Alliance celebration: singing, cheering, the clanging of instruments.
I was still in my shimmery red gown, smelling of burnt skin and silk. My flesh felt like it was pulled so tightly over my frame that if I dared to move, it would split and spill my insides out.
Luke didn’t seem to notice his similar injuries. He had finished the fire grave and was levitating his father’s body on top. And then he lit it with a torch. Fire enveloped the wood and soon Darth Vader’s body, the terror of the galaxy, his ashes floating up into the sky.
Luke stood watching in solemn silence. I moved to stand next to him. He didn’t seem to notice me there. I felt his sadness, but beneath it was a sense of hope. It was finally over. And he hadn’t failed. He saved the only father he’d ever known to have, even if their reconciliation lasted for only a few minutes. There was hope still, for him, Leia, Han, and the Alliance. Where they would go from here, who knew?
“I’ll be leaving soon after the celebration,” I said quietly. I had decided my time in this universe had ended. But Luke wouldn’t know that. He would only think I was to disappear somewhere in his galaxy. It didn’t matter what he thought, after all. My adventure—my experience—was over. I had learned what it was like to be outside my world and that I couldn’t change the things to come.
“I’m sorry—“ but that’s all I could make out. What I was going to say sounded stupid and pointless. He won’t care that I tricked him into thinking I was someone else (and I really was someone else anyhow) because he wouldn’t remember me after I left.
I looked at him, his melancholy profile shadowed in firelight. He didn’t look back. This was as close as I’d ever be. And he hated me. I didn’t sense it, so to speak, but I might as well have guessed it.
Without another word, I turned and left Luke alone in the red-orange firelight and returned to the Ewok village. I wanted to feel what the others felt (joy, love, real happiness) before I left.
The celebration was wild and jumping. The bearlike Ewoks singing in a language I could not understand, but it felt like victory words. Leia, Han, the Wookie Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian all gathered in a tight circle, laughing, embracing. Wedge Antilles and the other Rogue Squadron pilots stood off to another side, clapping each other’s backs, playfully pushing each other around. They paid no attention to the girl in the red dress, obviously overdressed and sticking out like a warning beacon in the midst of browns, greens and greys. They didn’t care. The battle was won. But the Empire wasn’t beaten yet. It still had control of the capitol planet, Coruscant, and it was the Alliance’s job to overtake it. That would happen on another day, though.
Tonight, they drank, ate, and cheered each other and their survival.
I stood off to the side, watching in wonderment. R2-D2, the silver and blue astromech droid, bumped into my leg. I glanced down and smiled. R2 tweeted and cooed at me, and remained at my side.
“Luke!” I heard Han call out.
And there he was, smiling and embracing his sister Leia, coming in for another by Han Solo. Everyone gathered around Luke, relief flooding through those who hadn’t known if Luke had survived the destruction or not.
It was time, I thought. I turned away, but then in front of me, flickering into view were the soft white-blue silhouettes of Ben Kenobi, Yoda, and then, finally, Anakin Skywalker. They were looking right at me, smiling. I thought they wouldn’t have recognized me, but somehow they knew who I was.
Then I noticed Luke standing directly beside me. I hadn’t even realized it until he turned to smile at me. All the hurt was gone. He seemed more at peace now.
“Where will you be going?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I said, although I knew exactly where I was going. “Somewhere away from all of this. To start a new life, I suppose. The Empire will think their only other rightful heir was also killed in the destruction of the Death Star. The Moffs will be fighting for power. It’ll be the perfect time for me to disappear.”
Luke nodded slowly, then said, “You could stay here, with the Alliance. They could use someone with your knowledge. It will definitely help the tide of the war.”
I shook my head no. “I’m not sure if that would be a good idea. If I were discovered alive…well, let’s just say the Moffs won’t stop to try to kill me and anyone near me.”
Luke then turned me to face him, his blue eyes full of sincerity and confidence. “You are now exactly how I met you. Alone, your family killed. If you stay with us, you’ll have somewhere to be. You can start again. Think about it, Christalee. And if you still don’t think it’s a good idea, you can always leave any time you want.”
I wanted to stay, more than anything. Looking into his ocean-blue eyes, I felt suddenly like I belonged, that this was where I was meant to be…maybe…possibly. I smiled and Luke embraced me in a warm hug.
“Come on,” he said brightly, “I’ll introduce you to Leia and Han.”
I decided to try it for a couple of days, to see how long I could stay in this universe. Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months, and before I knew it, I was apart of a culture I only ever dreamed of. Luke and I had agreed to keep my identity as the Imperial Princess a secret, even to Leia and Han. I became a Rogue Squadron leader, fighting alongside Wedge Antilles, helping break through the security defenses of Corsucant and fighting the Empire into a little corner of the galaxy. This took years, of course, and before I knew it, I was in my late twenties. I had helped bring up the New Republic after the Empire had been finally beaten. I became Leia’s personal aide and guard when she became Chief of State. When I wasn’t with Leia, I was with Luke, helping him create the Jedi Academy. There were many times when I tried to leave, or when I thought it was a “good idea” to leave. Luke and I would have an argument about his decisions. I would tell him not to do something, or not to trust somebody, and he would fight with me on my reasons. Those reasons being because I couldn’t give him one. I couldn’t tell him how I knew certain things were to happen because I would give away my real identity: which was that I didn’t belong there.
I knew bits and pieces of the future, but it didn’t help. I would save Luke’s life in extremely impossible situations, and he’d wonder how I did it. It pained me that I couldn’t let him know who I really was, or how I was able to seem invincible. And I wondered on that too, how I was able to have nearly unlimited power. The longer I stayed in Skywalker’s world, the more powerful and knowledgeable I became. I slowly began to forget home, becoming fully integrated into this other world.
Before long I was in my thirties. Luke and I had become very close friends, but there was something else. There was romance somewhere, but we both buried it far below. I knew Luke was afraid to let anything more happen between us because of his bad luck with women (every romantic relationship he’d ever had either ended up in betrayal of the worst kind: assassination attempts, death, or mysterious disappearances). I was afraid because I knew I’d have to leave someday.
Luke and I were two of a handful of Jedi Masters at this point, with an academy going strong. Leia and Han had been married and had three children who attended the academy. I was still involved in the political affairs of the New Republic, splitting my time between the Jedi Academy and the capitol. Lando wanted to sweep me off my feet, much to Luke’s annoyance, and I let him take me out on a few wild space nights. Nothing that amounted to anything but a good friendship in the end.
By the time I was in my late thirties almost forties, I had resigned as a personal aide, left the academy temporarily to embark on some “legal” smuggling missions with Mara Jade and Talon Karrde. A year flew by and I had been out of touch with Luke, Leia, and Han. Then a rescue mission forced Luke and I back together. That was when we had decided to forget about our inhibitions (that made no sense anyhow!) and allow ourselves to grow into more than just “close friends.” This rescue mission had me nearly drowning in cave of water when Luke openly cried out, “I love you.”
I found it to be perfect timing.
In all this time, I had been kidnapped, tortured, stabbed, brainwashed, seduced, shot, enslaved, hunted, and exiled.
And in all this, I had fallen in love.
Then the Yuuzhan Vong came, an alien race from another galaxy that existed outside of the Force, and they nearly wiped out our civilization, changing our planets to adapt to their lifestyle. The darkest years of our lives painfully crept by. Every day knowing you survived was a day to be grateful. But then you feared to sleep. Leia lost her youngest son to the Vong. Chewbacca was also lost. Jacen, Leia’s oldest son, and I were captured during a near-fail mission to eradicate one of the Vong’s most brutal weapons to the Jedi: acid spitting wolf-like creatures undetectable by the Force. Jacen was tortured, but after a year, he escaped. I was tortured as well, and became the plaything for the fleet commander Warmaster Tsavong Lah. He was fascinated by the Jedi and the “magic” we could wield. So he kept me as a pet on a leash. I eventually escaped, stabbing the warmaster straight through the heart with his own amphistaff.
Through the years of fighting for our lives, our homes, our planets, Luke and I had a child: a boy we named Ben. I couldn’t believe it! I had a little boy with little blue eyes and a little nose and a little mouth, little feet, hands, toes and fingers.
I never felt anything like it. The feeling of overwhelming love. The connection I felt with him through the Force was unimaginable. He was mychild. Every day was a wonder—and a nightmare, because the war hadn’t ended yet. An animalistic side in me grew when I fought against the Vong. I wanted to wipe them out, one by one, so that my baby could grow up in a safer place. I refused to lose my child the way Leia lost hers.
Suddenly the tides had turned, and we finally had the upper hand. After finding a solution between our two peoples, that solution being a living planet called Zonama Sekot, which seemed to be a portion of their homeworld, a wary peace finally spread across the galaxy.
Sitting across from my child playing in our apartment on Ossus, the new home for the Jedi Academy, I watched him attempt to levitate a ball off the floor. He was barely two years old. It reminded me of when I was two years, sitting next to my cousin, fighting over a doll she thought best to pull away from me. My mother surprising both of us. I froze, thinking I was in trouble for “not sharing.” But then my mother pulled out a camera and flashed us with a bright light. Just a picture. She only wanted a picture. So I’m not in trouble after all—
Mother?What mother? I was grown in a tube. —No you weren’t, you were grown in a womb.
I sat, watching my son lift the ball successfully into the air, smiling and giggling as he let it bounce back to the floor.
“I could never do that at two,” I said to Ben, smiling. Ben looked over to me, a wide smile spreading across his face, a few baby teeth glistening in the pale yellow sunlight which flooded the room from the large viewport.
“Momma!” he burst, then crawled towards where his ball rolled away to.
Of course you couldn’t at two because there is no such thing as the Force where you’re from.
I frowned. Where am I from? Coruscant. No. Corellia. No!
I was forty-six years old, with a two year-old child, and—No you’re not! You are not forty-six. Forty-four? No. Forty? No!
Well then WHAT AM I ???
I sat in silence. Ben was staring at me, a tiny little crease indenting his forehead. His big blue eyes showed worry. I gasped in air suddenly, realizing I had not been breathing for a handful amount of seconds, and tears began to burn my eyes. I’m not from here.
“Ben—“ But I stopped, my throat closing in on me. I already knew what needed to be done. I had stayed too long, far too long. I took Ben into my arms, pressing him tightly against my chest, and rushed to a neighboring apartment, one where Ben had spent many nights when Luke and I were away on missions.
Corran Horn’s son, Valin answered the door. Valin was a Jedi Knight. I told him I had to find Master Skywalker quickly and that it was very important. Ben’s little fingers gripped my shirt-blouse and wrapped into my long golden blonde hair. When I tried to place Ben in Valin’s arms, he pulled a part of me with him.
“Mommy,” he called out. He could sense my despair and knew something was wrong. His tiny fingers reached out for me. Valin held Ben tightly, but was becoming worried himself. Valin must have been only thirteen or fourteen.
OR MAYBE SIXTEEN!!!
“No!” I barked. And I realized I made Valin jump away, scaring Ben too. “I’m sorry, Valin. I’m sorry, Ben. It’ll be okay,” I said. My eyes began to burn again. “Valin, I want you to contact Mara Jade quickly. Tell her that—“ My throat closed again. I swallowed a couple of times until it cleared somewhat. “Tell her that I need her to watch over my son.”
I turned away as fast as I could before the look on Ben’s desperate, round face changed my mind. I had to go home. I felt something was wrong there. I had to get back to my family, to my life that I once knew, but couldn’t seem to remember too well.
You don’t belong here. You never have…
I kept going, even as I heard Ben crying for me to come back, and made my way to my ship, the Starfire. From there I sent Luke an urgent message with coordinates for a meeting place.
When I finally arrived on the Sanctuary Moon of Endor, I landed my ship in a field clearing. Exiting the Starfire, I walked up to a hill that looked over into a valley of forest. The breeze was cooler for Endor this time of year. I could still hear the distant tribal hunting calls of the Ewok, the smaller, more subtle clicks of the insects, and the rustle of leaves and creaking tree trunks as the wind played gently through them.
“You know I can feel your panic from thousands of kilometers away,” Luke said from behind me. “’Urgent’ message is rather redundant, don’t you think?”
I smiled. He was nervous. He knew I was thinking of doing something. I could barely hide anything from him these days—these years!
“Where are you going, Christalee?” he said. He was now directly behind me. I could feel his warmth radiate off of him. And I was going to have to give this up?
I turned slowly to look at him, his deep blue eyes accented by subtle creases of age, his mouth bent into a soft smile, but there was tension behind it.
“You know how you’ve always wanted to know how I know things?” I started. “Things that I knew would happen and did happen. And I said to you that I couldn’t tell you. It used to drive you crazy.”
“Yes,” he nodded, still smiling. “I remember. And I decided to stop pressing you about it because I figured eventually you would tell me.” He pulled me in close, wrapping his arms around my waist. “Is this that time?”
I looked up into his eyes, my throat constricting on me again. I swallowed hard, my face hardening as I did so.
Luke’s smile melted away. But his body stayed calm, no twitching of nervous muscles, and he kept a solid grip around my waist.
“Yes,” I barely made out. I cleared my throat again. “Yes, this is that time.”
Luke stayed silent.
“I am not who you think I am,” I continued, and as I spoke, I slowly slipped from Luke’s embrace. “I wasn’t supposed to be here this long.”
Luke kept quiet, but I could see the multitude of questions forming on his face.
“The night we met on Endor was supposed to be it,” I said. “But I stayed because I wanted to know what it was like to be a part of this—your—world. The longer I stayed, the harder it was to leave. I fell in love with this place. And I fell in love with you. And it seemed as if everything was okay here, that I was allowed to be here. I forgot about where I came from and the life that I had had. I made a life with you. With Leia and Han. Chewie and Lando. I didn’t want to let it go.
“But the longer I stayed here, the more my world fell away. My world is in danger now and I have to go back. I have to help save it.”
Luke was dumbfounded. “I don’t understand,” he said. “What world? What danger? Let me come with you to help you—“
“No, that’s the thing, you can’t,” I said, and a sudden serenity fell over me, even as I saw the panic grow in Luke’s deep blue eyes. “Where I’m going, you can’t follow. Our two universes can never meet.
“Let me show you who I really am.” I took a step back and a white-gold shimmer haloed around my body. My face, lined with the same age as Luke’s, dissolved into my younger self, and the jumpsuit I wore was replaced by jeans and a simple t-shirt. Then I pointed towards an empty spot on the hill. White light shot from my fingers and opened up a portal. Inside the portal was, at first, black with stars, then, rising into view, my home planet.
Luke stood in completely awe, watching a blue and green planet merge into view on the other side of the portal.
“This is where I’m from,” I said, wistfully watching as the image moved past the planet’s atmosphere, through thick white clouds, racing over the blue-black oceans, reaching city-scape, forests, rolling dunes, deserts, mountains, and then—
“My home,” I said, as a medium-sized house flew into view. “I’m from Earth.” I turned to Luke.
He stood there, unable to move, a deeply sad understanding sinking onto his visage.
“And I can’t come with you,” he said, and it wasn’t a question.
I shook my head no. “It’s too far away from here,” I said. “Luke, I never belonged in your universe. I have to go back and save my world.”
“Don’t do it,” he said suddenly, moving forward ever so slightly, as if afraid one more step would make me run. “Don’t leave us. You can’t.”
I went to him, wrapping my arms around his neck, knowing that this was it, that this was my last chance to feel this, before it all went away.
“Luke, when I leave…” my voice trailed off. I cleared my throat. “After I leave, you won’t remember this.”
“No, you can’t—“
“You won’t remember anything and all will be as it should be,” I said firmly. “The way it was meant to be. But I will always love you. Know that.” I choked and my eyes burned so hotly that I couldn’t stop the tears this time.
“You and Ben will always feel loved,” I continued brokenly, “even if you don’t know where it’s coming from.”
“Don’t…” And then I kissed him before he could try to say anymore. I knew this was my last chance, my last kiss, my last moment to feel this way, before reality sucked me into the portal. It was beyond anything I could imagine, this feeling. Kidnapped, tortured, stabbed, brainwashed, seduced, shot, enslaved, hunted, exiled, and loved.
And loved back.
I broke the connection. I stepped towards the portal. My home was in there. The sun was shining bright in both worlds. The wind picked up, a burst of pine rode with it, and it was even cooler this time in my Earthling t-shirt. I looked back at Luke one last time before stepping through. Clad, still, in all black, his lightsaber dangling at his side, his brown hair ruffled by the wind, and his blue eyes glittering brightly in the sunlight.
“Christanna,” he said. How did he know my real name? “Will you remember?”
I smiled. “I’ll remember everything.” I stepped through the portal.
I was back.
I was nineteen years old. I stood standing in the gravel outside my parents’ house. Time had passed by, but not a lot. The sun beat hotly on my skin and I felt a trickle of sweat trail down my spine.
“Mom? Dad?” I called out. No one was home yet. That was usual. I wondered if they even knew I was gone. That I went to the stars and back.
I looked behind me where the portal had been. There was no trace of it. As if it never happened. But I remembered everything.
Sweat built up on my brow, I made myself move towards my parents’ house and go inside—shut the door—waited for them to come home—and never looked back.
Tomorrow marks my two year anniversary with California. And, boy, did it fly. The first year was filled with fun, friends, and my romance with the Terminator. I had two internships with a PR and management company. I also did two shows that year: the monologue show Sex, Relationships, and Sometimes Love by Joelle Arqueros and Cabrillo Music Theatre’s production of Cinderella. During my first year, I was still getting the handle of the Los Angeles freeway system (mainly their illogically random on and off ramps) and trying to make new friends seemed more difficult since I wasn’t in school. A fellow coworker at the time even had said, “You won’t make it one year here.” He was drunk when he’d said that, so I didn’t take him seriously. In any case, those kinds of comments only make me fight harder to prove they are wrong.
By the end of the first year, I felt in limbo. I’m a very impatient person and, because of this, I felt I hadn’t accomplished anything. I had to keep reminding myself that these things take time, that I can’t become successful within just ONE year. My relationship with the Terminator ended in the summer as well. He had been the only close friend I had made, so the loss brought me back to square one when concerning friendships.
And so I got to work. At the start of my second year, I ended up becoming very close with Anne from work. Shaneen, Alisha, and a few others became close as well. It was nice finally having some girlfriends.
The beginning of my second year, I also discovered I was not invincible to the dangers of dating, learning the lesson quickly never to get drunk alone with a guy you barely knew.
Then a week later, still fuming over my bad date, a few of my girlfriends made me go out to a lounge bar, Bogie’s, to lighten my spirits. Although, a bar filled with men was the last place I wanted to be. But that’s when I met Mr. Georgia, a producer for television. And so began a multitude of whimming adventures! My first private jet experience, my first Las Vegas high-life experience, the Magic Castle, the Getty Museum, Dom Perignon champagne. There was always something new to look forward to. Needless to say, I got swept.
Then there were those tender moments that really swept me. The kind that made you feel like you never felt that way before. You know, the “oh my gosh, is this it?” feeling. I can honestly say I had never had that feeling before, so it definitely took me by surprise. This was also my first experience dating a man who already had had a previous married life and a child. My mother had always told, from experience, to not get involved with divorced men, that my life would be very hard and almost unbearable. But then again, my parents’ romance is the foundation to how I look at my own romance. Although they had a rough first 8 or 9 years, they have one of the happiest, most passionate and romantic marriages I’ve ever known. I want that.
Half way through my second year, I experienced the “in love” feeling. In the past, it used to be inconceivable to me. So, with much consult with my mother, I allowed myself to admit that I was in love with Mr. Georgia. I like to mark that moment in my personal history. It was so unreal, I couldn’t believe it was happening.
Then it was gone. Not the feeling, but the relationship. Timing, I suppose…Mr. Georgia did not feeling the same way…it could be a number of things. I don’t think I’ll ever get a straight answer, but it doesn’t really matter in the end. I’m just happy I got to experience that used-to-be enigma of a feeling. Also helps with my acting. Another experience I can add to my list.
From their, I suddenly became audition addicted. I was still healing from the loss of Mr. Georgia, but it lit a fire under me to find as many distractions I could grab. And what more of a perfect distraction is getting into a show. Not only would it keep me busy, but it’s a part of my career path!
That’s when I landed Funny Girl at the Downey Civic Light Opera. I played a small role named Polly. It was a lot of fun, but was a hell of a drive. I experienced my first L. A. traffic too. Let me just say…agony.
At this time, I also reconnected with the Terminator. I had always wished we could be friends and hated that we never talked anymore. So I called him up, told him just that, and we are good friends to this day.
On a sadder note, my Papa passed away while I was in rehearsals for Funny Girl. The smartest man in the world had finally checked out. I still have a hard time realizing I will never see him again, as if he’s still waiting for me to come visit in Arizona.
Right after Funny Girl ended, I was cast in Cabrillo Music Theatre’s The Sound of Music.But before I went into rehearsals for that, I got signed up for singing in a concert, “Salute to Valor,” in Oahu, Hawaii. I had never been to Hawaii, so another whim could now be checked off my list.
After I returned from Hawaii, my schedule was full with work and rehearsals. I started losing my close relationships with Anne and my other girlfriends. Going from work to rehearsal in one day almost EVERY day made me ache for alone time. So I was on a hiatus from the parties and “girl time” hangs.
I was infected with the career virus.
It was all I could think about. When was the next audition? What songs do I need to have ready? New headshots, I needed new headshots! I had a system. Work, work out, rehearsal and/or audition, bed. I even switched to organic and natural foods. THAT was a huge switch for me!
As soon as The Sound of Music closed, I lined up two more auditions. Both I got callbacks for and both were seriously considering me to be apart of their shows. One was an Equity house, something I’ve been needing to get into. The other was Cabrillo again, but I was up for a lead role this time.
By the end of my second year, I finally got my first lead in a musical in California. Tomorrow marks the beginning of my third year, and I start rehearsals for the role of Grace Farrell in Annie. I feel incredibly blessed.
And as happy as I am with how busy I’m keeping myself on my career path, I am much more alone in it. My friendships with many people have faded in result of my busy schedule. What bewilders me more is that I actually LIKE being alone. This applies to romantic relationships as well. I’ve found them to be more stressful than they are worth, that they aren’t any fun, and they get in the way of my freedom. Being a girl who used to wish for a boyfriend every night until she finally got one at the young age of 21, after having three serious relationships, I definitely take my wishes back. By the end of my second year, I have discovered that I am NOT any good in relationships.
Cause, well, who knows what the future has in store…
And with THAT said, considering all the incredible adventures I embarked on during my second year, I can’t WAIT to find out what my third year will be like! Romance, heartbreak, career success and career failure, earthquakes and tsunamis, the end of the world, who knows?…I expect it all! The adventures of being alive…
There have been only a few stages of my life where I noticed a massive physical and mental change occur. At thirteen I knew my life from there on out would be hugely different. At eighteen, I knew my childhood had gone and I panicked. I truly felt I wouldn’t survive as an adult. The transition was terrifying.
But I made it to twenty-six. And, again, I sense another major shift in my body and mind. I have confidence now that I can survive the adult world and be happy in it. At twenty-six, working is addicting, even though I am worn out faster. Going out is less appealing as it is to going home and spending time with myself. Of course, this is surely the result of being ridiculously busy.
At twenty-six, all-nighters are no longer easy to do. Coffee no longer keeps me awake, but remains a comfort in the morning.
At twenty-six, I finally obtained a Victoria Secret body, something I had been obsessed with and working on since I was sixteen. And, although my body is stronger than it has ever been, it hurts more. My lower back is now a constant pain and my right knee is weak. Vitamins have become a part of my daily life. And I have high-cholesterol, shocking news that somehow made me feel old. And yet, at twenty-six, I’m still arrogant and carefree.
I’m much more curious and brave at this stage. I want more and more to go where I have never gone before and experience new things. If I can live through it, I want to do it.
Finally I feel a confidence in myself I had never had before. My beliefs and opinions on how to live one’s life is richer and more well-rounded than the days of being naïve and close-minded. I am more fascinated with the way people react and feel, and I’m always searching for newer information. I still feel like I haven’t learned enough.
Emotion is something I have FINALLY been able to make sense of and control. I can rationalize better than I’ve ever had. When I don’t like someone, or they me, I can accept and be okay with it. Because it is impossible to be universally liked. However, treating those you don’t get along with graciously is important.
I have FINALLY learned to be patient, something I’ve been working on ALL my life. That’s an accomplishment I’m really happy about.
I am no longer in need of being needed by a man, as if I thought that gave me some purpose in my life before. It really didn’t.
On the other hand, I have also for the first time, experienced what it was like to be in love, something that had eluded me before. I lost it, but I crave to have it again. Although, strangely, I have no interest in looking for it, I am genuinely excited about finding it. I know now that I have the capability to feel that way, and it is incredible!
At twenty-six, I have come to accept my obsessive compulsive behavior as a unique and intriguing quality, although I may be the only one who feels this way.
And, even though I feel like I am still sixteen years old, in that youthful, playful sort of way, I am now accepted and taken seriously by the adult world. Something that I’ve yearned for most of my life.
Probably one of the most shocking discoveries I had come to realize was that I now want a child. Being someone who never liked or wanted children, I am still puzzled by this sudden change. Maybe by twenty-seven, I’ll go back to normal.
And maybe the reason I’m writing this is to put a mark in time so that when I’m old, I will remember. Hopefully this blog will still exist somewhere in cyberspace by then.
At twenty-six, I still don’t know where I’m going in my life, but instead of being scared by it, I am thrilled. Someone once told me their twenty-sixth year was a good one. I got a feeling, they’re gonna be right.
So I had to post The Terminator’s story of his adventure in Las Vegas this weekend. I’ll never understand why anyone would DARE to steal from the Terminator. He’ll KILL you. And it just so happened to be his birthday as well! Here it is:
“How did you spend your birthday in Vegas, Duizie?”
Well it started off by realizing my iPhone was missing at 5am when leaving a casino to go get some sleep at the Excalibur. I went back looking where we had been—no sign of it. I reported it missing to security and logged onto “Find My Phone” app via Brandon’s phone. I have auto lock but we locked the phone remotely anyway. GPS showed the phone across the BLVD at another hotel. Went there, looked around the parking area where the GPS was indicating—nothing. Reported to their security as well. I knew the battery was low so I figured it wouldn’t be locatable soon. Got back to our hotel between 6-7pm and used a computer to look at the tracking. Still showed Tropicana parking lot area.
Got some sleep then got up at 10am and checked tracking. Showed the phone at a mall north of the strip ten miles away! Sent note to the phone trying to get a response. Nothing.
“Let’s go,” I said and Brandon and I followed the location signal. We tried sending the signal to see if we could hear it.
There were about six kiosks in area. One was a phone case and accessory place. Didn’t hear it make noise, looked and listened at different kiosks. Brandon even tried calling it and it would ring, but no answer. Then he tried again and suddenly it went straight to voice mail, so we knew it was off now. Finally I went up to one of the phone kiosk guys and randomly asked how their chargers worked. He showed us a solar charger.
He showed me the solar charger on an iPhone. MY IPHONE!!!
He had turned it off probably because of the sound it was making when signaling it. And you needed the lock code to silence it.
I said, “Does the phone turn on?”
He said, “Yeah I just turned it off. It’s not mine, we’re just using it to show how the charger works.”
I said, “You know why it’s not yours. Because it’s mine.”
He was also trying to make a sale with someone else at the time when I said that.
He said, “What do u mean?”
“I tracked my phone here and you obviously can’t unlock it.”
He explained that the guy working yesterday left it here so he was using it for examples. I said that I had had it last night so that’s not true.
So he says, “If you can unlock it, then it must be yours. Take it man.” And, of course, I unlocked it.
I got his name and the kiosk info and went to report it to the mall management. They took down the info and looked up the owner of the kiosk and we called him. I informed him that my phone went missing and I tracked it to his kiosk being used by his employee. He was confused but I wanted him to know that his employees were using a stolen phone to sell his products.
I can’t prove the guy took it, but he had it so that’s the best I could do. Up to the owner now.
So long story short, I lost my phone, got to play FBI tracking it down, and now the phone is back in my possession. “Find My Phone” application on iPhone is pretty cool and accurate. But it really helps when the thief works at a phone charging kiosk and keeps the battery charged!!
Eating for first time today and relaxing. 3:30pm
Happy Birthday to me!!!
You really CAN lose and win in Vegas.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TERMINATOR! Glad you got your phone back!
You made me a writer. You made me a mathematician. A thinker. An analyzer. You taught me how to observe when you took me to all those museums and libraries. You taught me to keep my eyes open and wide. You taught me the importance of words and how they must sound when spoken, and how the original pronunciations were more important than the newest version in the English language. You also taught me that temper was best used when controlled and quietly expelled. It had more effect that way. You taught me to sneak candies like 3 Musketeers and chocolate ice cream bars and Butter Pecan ice cream cones behind Mana’s back because it was fun.
“Don’t tell Mana,” Papa whispered.
“I won’t.” I didn’t think much of it, of course, while I was shoving a Musketeer bar down my six year old esophagus.
Papa and I would watch Papa’s favorite movies, one of them being The Princess Bride. I always thought the grandpa in the movie was like my Papa.
And when Papa was tucking me into bed, I always asked for a glass of water because… “I’m thirsty. Can I have some water?”
“As you wish,” Papa said, winking in reference to the movie we’d just watched…again.
So Papa went downstairs for a drink of water. As he did, I hid under the covers of my bed, flattened out my body as much as possible so that I would hopefully blend in with the thick comforter. And waited. I heard footsteps creek on my wood floor.
“Kitten Lee? Are you hiding?” he said. “I wonder if you’re in the closet. Nope. Maybe under the bed? Nope. I wonder what would happen if I accidentally poured this cup of water on the bed…”
I squealed and threw the comforter up before he dared. And this was how he always found me. It was a nightly thing, my pathetic disappearing act.
Although, there was one time when I actually did disappear for a good hour or so in Green Lake, Wisconsin. This was our summer hang for the family. I pretty much grew up there and had many adventures. One of those adventures involved me in hunting down a wild deer flitting through the thick forest. At six, I was confident in knowing that I knew these forests well, but when the deer led me in circles, I couldn’t seem to find my way back to the clearing of camping trailers. This wouldn’t have been a problem except that the sun was going down and the forest was darkening.
So, being part singer, I decided to sing loudly in the forest about how lost I was, but that it was okay. I remember vaguely that I was coming to terms with the idea that I might be stuck there forever.
And then I heard a very stern voice shout out, “Christanna!”
“Papa?” I shouted back. Because it definitely sounded like his stern, you’re-in-trouble voice.
“Get over here now,” he said loud enough for me to follow. I couldn’t see him yet, but followed his voice. As I pushed myself through sharp branches and bushes I finally reached the edge of the forest where Papa stood in a bright green clearing of grass. But I had one more step and it was through a thick cluster of grass weed, which was about my height. Tears started running down my face because I thought that there was a snake and I couldn’t reach Papa.
“Get over here,” he said again.
“There’s a snake!” I cried, shaking my head.
“Christanna,” he said with that serious tone hinting grinding teeth.
That was enough for me. Usually that meant I was in serious trouble. So I jumped through the grass weed and ran to Papa, throwing my tiny arms around his waist.
Papa held on tightly as well and said, “Don’t do that again, okay? And we won’t tell Mana.”
I just nodded. He waited until I calmed down and then I told him all about my adventures in the forest and why I got lost. It was all because of that deer leading me in circles! As he led me through the grassy meadow, he taught me the Inch Worm song.
Little did I know my entire family was out searching for me in the far corners of Green Lake.
Papa was always right about everything. He knew where to look first before anyone else. At the Father-Daughter Dance when I was in first grade, Papa went with me because my dad was singing somewhere else (as opera singers do). But that night, he won a prize for me because he guessed the right amount of jelly beans in a jar. I remember thinking I could never do anything like that. Papa always knew the right answer.
So much so that it would drive me nuts sometimes. I would never argue with Papa, but the older I got, the more I wanted to be right instead of him. So it became a challenge to be successful for Papa.
I was being homeschooled during junior high by my grandparents. Papa taught my English, Math, and History courses. Mana taught my Science and any other extra-curricular activities.
“I’m scared I won’t be ready for high school next year,” I said to Papa as we were going through our English lesson.
“Don’t worry about it and concentrate on reading,” he said.
“Would you concentrate please? And trust me,” he said sternly.
He was right, of course. When I entered high school, I was ahead of everyone in Math and English. I didn’t have a history course that year, so I couldn’t really compare that one. But I had never met a mathematician who could write, or a writer who could do algebra equations and actually enjoy it! I loved both.
One day during my freshman year, I had finished writing a Star Wars novel just for the fun of it. It involved my own original characters blended with the Lucas originals and was a story far into the future lives of the Skywalker and Solo families. I gave my finished product to Papa to edit for grammatical errors. I didn’t expect any reaction out of him.
Instead, he said, “You’re a writer. This is very good.” And I don’t think he’d ever been a huge fan of Star Wars.
The older I got, the more I wanted to make him proud of me. That all of his teachings did not go to waste.
In college, I took a Musical Theater degree. It irritated me to no end that Papa would say, “What are your real courses” when I would tell him what classes I was taking. I always thought he didn’t respect my degree of choice. I later changed it to a degree that included intensive writing courses. I did it for myself because I enjoyed it so much.
But when Papa asked again, “What real courses are you taking?” I became more frustrated. Especially when he asked every year. I was starting to think he wasn’t paying attention and that he should have been proud that I was taking writing courses.
It didn’t quite hit me until he asked again, “What real courses are you taking?” after I had already graduated. That’s when I knew the Alzheimer’s was real. That’s when I knew…my Papa wouldn’t know who I was one day.
That he won’t see me get married like I hoped. And have a family. And that he won’t be there to tell his great-grand kids about the importance of pronouncing “often” with the “t” silent because that is the original pronunciation. Because Alzheimer’s cheats.
“Why don’t you pick on someone your own size!” I would say, if it was worth it. It’s not fair to burn the brain, but keep alive the body. A person is nothing without his mind.
I always thought you would last forever, Papa, as I do everyone else who I love more than anything. But somehow death seems to be logical now. Not just any death, but a death you controlled with your last remaining thought. Because Alzheimer’s is terribly unfair when it comes to killing. Instead, you’re killing it by sleeping. By never letting your brain wake up. Taking control, taking back the pride, power, and intelligence you once had. That’s the Papa I remember.
So you were right, Papa. You were right to instill in me parts of you. I realized one day recent when I was eating my dinner, that I was eating like you. I had bits of my food perfectly organized on my plate so that I had would end up with one bite of each at the end. That’s how you ate! You were stubborn—I am stubborn. You were an analyzer—I am an analyzer. You needed control and order—I need control and order. And not just in me did you help develop, but in all the children and grandchildren that stemmed from your life you gave away parts of you.
It is good that you sleep now, taking down the Alzheimer’s with you. I was never a fan of him anyway.
We will miss you of course. But you lived fully. And you lived long. That is all that matters. This is all I need to remember, Papa. This is enough.
Being a server sometimes means you’re gonna have to serve tables that know either too little or too much about you. In my case, I have on occasion had to wait on my ex-boyfriends’ exes. Not just exes, but the women who had broken my ex-boyfriends’ hearts. Which would make them the “big love” my boyfriends had lost at some point not too long after. And these women always seem to know who I am.
I’m starting to confuse myself, and probably you, so let me throw some examples out there.
Years ago, after I recently broke up with my first boyfriend, Cameron, I had to wait on his high school sweetheart, someone Cameron had a hard time letting go of after they had ended their relationship. Needless to say, it was someone he had loved hard for and I knew this while dating him. They had also kept in touch during my relationship with Cameron, always making me wonder if he was ever over her. It didn’t really matter anyway, considering Cameron and I didn’t work out. But what was awkward was that I knew certain private and personal things about her and she definitely knew certain private and personal things about me.
So when I announced my name (which is incredibly unique) and that I’d be taking care of her, I knew the smile on her face was purely superficial and nervous. This, in turn, made me uncomfortable, so for the duration of her dining out, everything was tense.
Irony, I think. Why is it that the ex-love of my recent ex-boyfriend somehow ends up sitting in my section when I know they are entirely unaware of my existence at The Restaurant? Especially when we had never met before?
But it doesn’t get anymore awkward than having the ex-WIFE sitting at your table. THE ex-wife your ex-boyfriend talked to you about for hours, telling you things she probably wouldn’t want you to know. And, as far as you know, she might know things about you that you wouldn’t want HER to know. And not only is it an ex-wife, but a recent one at that. Tricky, tricky…
I had never met her before, but had heard plenty. I also knew she was aware of my existence, but it was hard to say if she could recognize me by looks alone. I knew she would know my name, though. So, as I watched her tiny figure gracefully sit, looking with those extremely arched eyebrows, puffed out cheekbones and lips, I had to consciously restrain myself from going in multiple directions like a chicken with its head chopped off. For a split second, I felt guilty. Maybe it was because I had felt like a mistress when dating this man. Being hidden from his personal life always made me feel like I was in an affair and that if the wife found out, I would be in huge trouble. But it was his EX-wife. And he was now my ex-boyfriend (or more like a whim/fling/situation #2…refer back to situation #1 for clarification). “Boyfriend” doesn’t seem to fit this particular guy anyhow.
Still doesn’t change the fact that it was nerve-wracking. I swiftly passed by the table without greeting the ex and her date, and grabbed Ethel, another server, saying, “I can’t take this table. It’s HIS ex.” But really, I could have; however,considering it was dead in the restaurant, I knew Ethel could take it off my hands. I just didn’t feel like testing out my acting skills at that particular moment. I was just happy she didn’t walk in with her daughter. I could just feel the bile rise up my throat if that had happened. He did such a good job at hiding me from his daughter, how ironic would it have been if I got to meet her through his ex. Not that I wanted to be hidden, but he felt it best for his daughter not to know about me. Again, the Mistress title being labeled onto me. And again, I want to vomit. If only I was a Super Ex-Girlfriend, I wouldn’t feel so pathetic…
There was always another reason to vomit, and it was because I knew he had really loved his ex-wife. She was his “big love” just like Cameron’s high school sweetheart was his “big love.” And both ended up in my section. Years apart, but in two separate states, and yet still the same irony. Still the same awkwardness. Because, I too, was an ex. And I hate serving exes.